The reading section of the Next-Generation ACCUPLACER is designed to figure out what level your reading comprehension skills currently are. Since reading comprehension is one of the essential skills needed to succeed in any college level degree program, it is very important that the college get an accurate measure of your reading ability.
How Do I Schedule My Appointment for the Next-Generation ACCUPLACER?
You will schedule your appointment with the school where you are taking the test. The test is usually offered continuously so you can choose a time and date that fit best with your schedule. More importantly, pick an appointment that leaves you with plenty of time to study for the test.
How Long Will this Section Last?
For those who have a slower reading pace or who just need to read through a passage a few times before they really absorb it, you’ll be happy to know that this test has no time limit. You can read as slowly as you wish or read the passage over again as many times as you need to feel like you have really understood the information and ideas.
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Even if you are confident that you’ll be able to answer questions, bear in mind that the difficulty level of each question goes up with each correct answer so if you are doing well, you might find yourself encountering challenging questions that could take a while to figure out.
Read through the passages slowly and consider using scratch paper to take notes since taking notes can help you stay focused and absorb what you read more effectively. If you see a question that seems tricky or unclear, take as much time as you need to breakdown the question, eliminate answers you know are wrong and make smart, educated decisions about what the correct answer could be.
While you can and should take as long as you need to do your best, you will probably spend somewhere between 45 to 60 minutes reading through the passages and answering each of the 20 questions.
This time frame is just a rough estimate, however. If you need more than that, there’s nothing wrong with taking more time. If you want a more accurate estimate, you can time yourself while you answer practice questions.
What Is Covered in the Reading Section?
There are a total of 20 multiple choice questions on the reading section, divided across three different areas. The first four questions will be related to a literary text provided for you to read. The next four questions will be based on an informational text provided.
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After that, you’ll get 12 questions that are each based on their own short informational text. That means you will mostly be dealing with informational texts but you won’t need to have any kind of specialized knowledge on the subjects that the texts cover.
The first two parts where you have to answer four questions about a single text will contain longer passages of about 400 words each. The final section with 12 questions each relating to their own passage will contain shorter passages ranging from 75 to 300 words.
You just need to have the ability to:
- Identify information and ideas present in the text.
- Understand word choice, rhetorical devices, and the overall structure of the text
- Synthesize information taken from multiple texts and then draw conclusions beyond the texts.
- Understand the meaning of words and phrases in context.
If you work on those skills across a range of mostly informational but a few literary passages, you’ll be able to ace this section even if you’re given a text on a subject you aren’t that knowledgeable in.
What Score Do I Need to Get on the Reading Section?
The reading section is combined with the writing section. They are given a cumulative score between 20 and 120. However, it is not pass/fail meaning that there is no minimum score needed. With that said, some colleges have established their own minimum requirements.
So it’s important to check with your academic advisor to find out if there is a minimum score you will have to meet. Ask about this as soon as possible so that you can make a study plan that will help you achieve any minimum target scores you will need.
What’s the Best Way to Study for the Reading Section of the Next-Generation ACCUPLACER?
Succeeding on the reading section will require a variety of different study methods including a lot of practice reading different kinds of texts. Since you already know there will be both literary and informational texts, you have to make sure that you practice reading and interpreting both kinds.
In order to ace the different kinds of questions you’ll be asked, you’ll also need to practice comprehension skills and your ability to compare and contrast between different passages. If all that sounds a little confusing or difficult, don’t worry. With a well-designed aid like the Mometrix Study Guide, you’ll be able to get hand-picked reading passages along with comprehension questions that are similar to the kinds of questions you’ll be asked on the test.
The guide also includes step-by-step tutorial videos to help you master the more challenging material and understand how to solve the more difficult problems. Make sure you get the most relevant material by requesting either the original Next-Generation ACCUPLACER study guide or the newer, next generation version. Both versions of the exam are still in use so ask your advisor which one you’ll be taking so you can get the appropriate guide.
Another skill you will need to improve for the reading section is your command of vocabulary. One of the best ways to learn the most relevant vocabulary is to use Mometrix Flashcards.
The set includes a complete review of the most important terms and phrases you’ll see on the test. More importantly, using flashcards is one of the more engaging and interactive ways to learn the words you need to know to get through the reading section.